The skin on the soles of our feet is thicker than any other part of our body. This helps to protect the bones and joints of the foot and allows us to walk comfortably. However, if excessive pressure or friction is placed on the skin, it may thicken to protect itself, this is known as a callus. If a callus becomes very thick, it can irritate the tissues around it, causing pain and inflammation.
Corns tend to form over areas of very high pressure such as the tops of the toes or on the ball of the foot. The most common type is called a hard corn, which is an area of compressed skin, often within a larger callus. Other types include soft corns, which form between the toes – these have a whitish appearance due to the increased moisture in that area.
To treat calluses, apply a good quality moisturising cream to the feet daily and use a foot file or pumice stone once or twice a week. Corns are very difficult to treat yourself, so it’s best to seek advice of a podiatrist.
Footwear features to consider…
- Choose shoes that fit correctly. If a shoe is too tight it can press on joints and create pressure points.
- Equally, a very loose fitting shoe can slip up and down on the foot, rubbing on the skin.
- If your shoes have laces or straps check that these have been fastened correctly, as this may be the cause of the problem.
- Look for shoes that have cushioned soles – these provide extra protection and comfort for the feet.
So what really does make happy feet?
Having made footwear now for sixty years we’ve had lots of opportunity to discuss this with customers, members of the public and a range of health care professionals and have come to the conclusion that different things make different feet happy.
- For people with heel pain, shoes with underfoot cushioning can provide some relief
- For those who lack sensation in their toes due to diabetes it is vital to have smooth internal seams
- To help prevent bunions you must make sure there’s plenty of space around and on top of your toes
- If you need to wear orthotics then shoes with removable insoles may be helpful
- If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis look for shock absorbing soles to reduce the pressure on the forefoot in particular